How AirBnB Influenced eBay's Mobile App And A Redesign Of The Entire Site

John DonahoeJohn Donahoe

eBay may not be able to buy AirBNB — even though the two would be a perfect fit together — but the room-letting startup is influencing how the auction giant does business nonetheless.

eBay CEO John Donahoe tells AllThingsD that AirBNB’s attention to design — the site is a delight to use — taught him some lessons about the sometimes not-so-delightful experience of using eBay.

The auction site is much better than it used to be — back in the day it was a tangle of links, lists and SCREAMING CAPS — and it’s going to get even better soon, he says.

That’s because eBay’s mobile app, which required the construction of a stripped down, simplified version of eBay for phones, turned out to be a better user experience than the web site, Donahoe says. So the company is going to reverse engineer the web site based on lessons it learned from mobile — and AirBNB CEO Brian Chesky:

Well, that design is actually now working its way back through to our Web experience. What we hear consistently is that it’s far better than it used to be. But now the two places I want us to go to the next level are the full end-to-end experience — the moment you think about buying something, to the moment it’s in your hands. This is where Brian’s [Chesky, of Airbnb] design thinking notion comes into play.

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